Throwback Thread: Teddy Pendergrass

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

The lead singer for Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, Teddy Pendergrass was best remembered for telling people in the 1970s how to lay someone down by a fireplace and get to it. The soul legend died Jan. 13 at age 59 after suffering complications from colon cancer.

His career was a case study in how to discuss a single subject in endlessly clever ways. The thing (love-making) was described in alluring detail in classics like "Close the Door," "Love T.K.O." and "Feel the Fire." Everything on the above comp is actually essential.

An excerpt from his obituary in The New York Times best describes his style and popularity:

"By the late ’70s, Mr. Pendergrass’s concerts — some of them presented for women only — drew screaming, ecstatic crowds. Women would fling teddy bears and lingerie onstage. [Producer Kenny] Gamble called Mr. Pendergrass 'the black Elvis.'"